READER QUESTION: Why do you have sugar in some of your recipes, Anna?

Vinnie and I have received some form of this question daily for over 8 years. I explain it in several places in my books and blogs, but here we still are, so I will address it…

Kelly asks:

I am following the NSNG way to war. In your new cookbook eat happy too I see recipes that add coconut nectar or coconut sugar etc. Vinnie Tortorich says not any kind of sugar…. could you explain how the coconut nectar or sugar is acceptable. Thank you.

Hi Kelly-

Thanks for your question. It’s not the first time it’s been asked, and Vinnie and I answer it repeatedly on the Monday podcast. Diet-mindset has always taught us to be so binary with our thinking (we’re either in deprivation mode or binge mode), but NSNG is a way of eating that encourages using rational thinking, creating your own meal plans, not counting, and learning to trust your body the way nature intended it to. It’s a process, and it takes time to adopt and adapt.
I’m not quite sure what you mean by “following the NSNG way to war”—if this means you’re actually serving our country (if so, thank you!), or if you are feeling like you need to be at war internally to do NSNG b/c of difficulties surrounding food issues or lack of external support, so I’m not quite sure how to address that, but here’s my long answer that I will turn into a blog post to help others (so thank you for asking it).
First, please read the description of the sweets section in either cookbook of what the reasoning is behind using real sugar in the sweets chapters of the cookbooks. Also it’s explained in the intro pages as well. Vinnie and I have been answering this question for years. Yes, it’s called NSNG, but in my experience, 100% of people eat some form of sugar again at some point in their lives (birthday, holiday, etc), and I want to offer options for homemade treats (intended to be a treat only), using the least amount of sugar possible. I don’t do artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes, but you are more than welcome to use them in place of sugar. I also give a few options if you are cooking for people who aren’t doing NSNG, but I will always tell you where you can omit sugar. I want to empower you. I want you to feel the freedom to adapt or avoid recipes to make them your own. Or if it’s still too much, you can certainly rip those pages out of the book and burn them (I’m sure someone has).
It’s been my goal in life (and Vinnie’s as well) to get people to stop being a slave to food, to give up processed sugars and grains, and then when you’re gonna have a celebratory thing (which every one does, we’re human—Vinnie calls it putting “Life Into Living,” and even he does it), then to make it homemade. I would hope you didn’t buy my cookbook and immediately think it would be healthy or a good choice to flip immediately to the sweets chapter and only cook from that chapter. I wanna be clear I am 100% NOT advocating that just because I have a sweets chapter in each of my books. I want people to live normal, every day lives, and not be tortured by food or beliefs surrounding food. I am trying to help give options.
Also here’s a tweet I did recently that sums all this up in fewer words (but seriously, please do refer to the intro to the Sweets Chapter and the intro pages of the book, where I make it a point to repeatedly address this question):
Hope this helps-


  • “way to war” may have been a typo … probably “eat” but hit the wrong top row keys.

    • oh man, I thought “way to war” sounded so cool! But I bet you are correct.
      Thank you!

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